Where do we draw the line, is sexting cheating? Or is it only the full act of sexual encounters?
Engaging with someone whether it is by social media or full on skin to skin is a betrayal for most and it's not always about the sex, for most it's about the broken trust.
In this article we are going to look at the some the things that create the cheating, discuss if and how it can be fixed and why your partner did it in the first place.
Why Do People Cheat?
There are all sorts of reasons that people cheat but the most toxic one is the NEED for people to feel good constantly about themselves, now while we all can have inflated ego's if you find your partner is in need of constant ego stroking then you may well be dealing with a narcissist which is very problematic because they will constantly need a high level of attention and if you don't give it to them they will keep looking elsewhere. However some are just focused on instant gratification meaning they will just take the opportunity randomly as it presents itself. For example that staff night at work where the secretary comes on too hard and they go with the buzz! So cheat's can really vary in degrees as in the compulsive cheat or that sloppy one off that they really do regret.
People who feel entitled to sex any way they can get it, will always rationalize cheating, and just keep doing it. They don't want to work on marital issues, or learn to keep intimacy alive with the same person. They get their jollies from illicit sex and will continue to cheat and fool around regardless of how much it hurts you or your relationship.
Then there is always that "friend" who will say well if they were happy they wouldn't be cheating making you feel like its your fault they cheated in the first place! But at the end of the day it really can just be a mutual lack of attention to each other. Researches have found that women cheat because they feel emotionally deprived and men cheat because they feel sexually deprived". Therefore somewhere in the middle is the truth. I mean you may be the best wife ever, packing his lunch, getting the kids sorted with all their extra curricular activities, making sure dinner is served, but really not pay attention to his sexual needs. He on the other hand might be the best lover you have ever had but he can't pay simple attention to you, or makes you feel like you are part of the furniture or can't ever say a simple thanks of appreciation let alone take you for a romantic dinner!
Relationships take work, and when one or both parties aren't willing to put the effort in, it can feel easier to find what's lacking elsewhere. While most relationship dissatisfaction is not that hard to fix when it boils down to it, the problems come from lack of communication mostly and lack of effort. For instance, you may get huffy and walk off and roll your eyes, he might blow it off saying he has to go mow the lawn!
You HAVE to talk. Speak up if you have a problem but don't scream in anger or frustration. Find time for the TWO of you to TALK properly. And LISTEN to what they have to say don't throw out accusations and make it all one way if you really want to fix things remember there are always two sides.
However, if someone has cheated it is so usually emotionally devastating for everyone - and yes even including the cheater (if he/she is not a narcissist or has a personality disorder) they will probably feel huge amounts of guilt and anxiety on how to deal with it. Most cheating can often be a thoughtless sex session which can come with much regret after. Right then and there, in the moment he/she is not thinking of the long term consequences and ramifications.
One day this person flirts or hits on them! There's an opportunity to turn a fantasy into reality and be with this hot person. Maybe the married person's spouse is out of town or the would be cheater is away on business and the chance of getting caught is extremely remote. Essentially, this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be with him or her. On occasion, this type of cheater may give into peer pressure. They may be hanging out with their friends in nightclub who are egging them on to go for it. Cheaters like this are guilty of caving in to temptation. And in this world of social media where anyone can slip a naked private message into their inbox then it's even harder to slap away the constant attention. Some maybe just want to escape the pressures of day to day but might feel a simple flirt on line is no big deal .. until of course the one flirting says "come meet me".
So when they have cheated can the Relationship Recover?
This depends on who you ask! At the end of the day it really is down to many different things.
- Can you legitimately forgive them and move on?
- Are you going to throw it in their face every chance you get for the next ten years?
- Are you doing it because you believe they will never do it again or do you feel they are just saying it for the sake of the kids and you are hanging in there for the same reason?
Relationships can repair, but you must understand it's likely to be a long road to that place of real repair where everything seems normal again - but do you want it back to normal, because that's how it started was something was wrong with your "normal" to begin with else they would not have cheated.
It is very important that neither side brush it off and actually DEAL with what caused it. This process can come with new parameters being enforced — ones that may be hard for both sides to acclimate to. Sometimes the adoption of new rules like open social media or cell phone access will be requested from the other partner, or solid proof that you do have a late shift and not in fact going for a couple of pints with your pals. Are you ready to really compromise and prove to your partner you are sorry or you are forgiving? Both sides have to work hard at this. Give and take. Whatever rules or agreements you put in place in your relationship are personal to you two. There is no list of must-haves on the healing-from-cheating game plan, it is all dependent on the couple. Know that the healing process takes time. It is up to you and your partner to determine how long you need to heal and when trust is reestablished. This isn't a quick fix by any means, the cheater needs to realize its damage that may take months or years to repair.
If you are adamant about continuing to vilify or blame your partner for the affair or one night stand and not take a deeper look at what is really going on then you wont ever fix it.
For example ask yourself (and him/her)
- Was the sex life boring - had it grown stagnant and if so who is really to blame, you, them or both?
- Do you take each other for granted, do you want the passion of that honeymoon period back but don't really make an effort to make them feel as special as when you were dating and all gooey in love?
- Has one of you really let go of yourself while the other is maintaining a high level of fitness and appearance?
- Have you legitimately grown apart and have nothing in common?
- Or you both have love but the sex just isn't something you or they want?
There are lot's of questions you can ask each other and GET REAL about it. Do you both have major love and want to stay together for the kids but feel you need extra spice elsewhere? If that is the case then why not both be honest about it and stay together but try an open-relationship or a hall pass or even try spicing it up together like a threesome?
Relationships and infidelity can be repaired but it is all very dependent that both parties really want that. Both have to be on board that continued monogamy is really what you want. Many successful relationships stay together because they do open up to other options. Why throw away 20 years of marriage and a beautiful home and break the kid hearts if its just a little extra sex you want elsewhere and you both can agree that's an option.
People will always have different thought processes on monogamy, some will say to open the marriage is a disgusting thought but the bigger question is will your relationship really last if you don't. Once a cheat, always a cheat? However, don't choose to be naïve and kid yourself they didn't mean to do it because they were drunk or make any other excuses for them! They did it! NO EXCUSE - Fact is they risked essentially ending it by betraying you so it is up to YOU how you handle it moving forward. Some people can forgive their cheating partner and try to move on, but how can you really let that go? It will always be something that is between you. If you are in a relationship that you really want to save, you won't do something that is disrespectful like this in the first place are the true facts of the matter. Cheating is not something you just accidentally do. That initial flirting, sexting little kiss etc were all choices!, Going somewhere private with them, taking all their clothes off, and then physically having sex with them were for sure advanced choices, every single step was a choice. The factors to consider here are why you [or your partner] did this. At the heart of that question nearly every time is a lack of respect for your partner, your relationship, and yourself. People either cheat because they want their relationship to end (or don't care which is why they risked it), or they don't know how to or break up with their partner or simply they just don't care enough to respect you and all you have given them!
Just don't be a victim, They cheated. Don't let them whine and cry and let it go else it will just happen again. Scream in your pillow, drink some wine or beer, give yourself 24 hours for the tears and rage to come out then seriously ask yourself WHAT DO YOU WANT moving forward then ask them.
Its one thing wanting to fix your relationship and not throw everything away over one mistake but if it was a long term affair was that a mistake or just a ling term period of disrespect. Don't be a doormat!
If you were the cheat what do you do next?
First things first, after you've committed the act/deed/crime, you need to take a hard look at whether or not you want the relationship to continue. Was the motivation behind your actions due to the fact that you want out of your current romantic situation? Or was it truly a one time mistake that you wish you could take back if you could?
If it was a one off thing them just come clean. Part of what upset's people is not just the sex it's the trust broken. If you can at least be honest about your indiscretions face to face with genuine remorse then there is hope. The fact that you fessed up shows that you can still show a little respect and trust by admitting your mistake. Much like with teenage kids if they do one mistake then lie and lie and lie it just makes it so much worse! Same with the "it meant nothing" don't be insulting! Telling someone you just threw away a 10 year marriage for something that meant nothing just adds salt to the wounds. Be honest about WHY it happened. and please don't say I was drunk! That makes you such an idiot, I mean you were not that drunk to get the deed done so again, don't insult more than you already have! Simply take ownership .. I did it, I am genuinely sorry and ashamed and I want to work with you to fix it how can we do that. Let them be angry, it's natural, if they need space get out of their way and give them some, do NOT sit there and tell them, well it's your fault because we don't have enough sex etc, doing the dirty deed then blaming them will just provoke more rage.
If you have cheated it is not a sign that the relationship you are in is not right, but something is not right, so communication and serious self reflection is what is needed to see what is really going on. Are you really in love and wanting to fix your mistake? That's the first question you have to ask. If you are not then stop hurting them, set them free, They will hurt, yes but hurt them once not over and over with more affairs.
Perhaps consider a relationship therapist or sex coach sometimes the third party person can really make you see it from the other persons side if you are not good at listening or communicating. It may be expensive but so are divorces!
Whatever you do don't just forgive and move on in a week, it will start to be the same old repetitive, toxic patterns if you don't really look at the issues that caused it. Yeah it was a one night staff party shag but if you really loved and respected your partner you just would not risk it so what's really up. Is is a silent punishment to them? A reminder to you that you are sexy? A need to just feel wanted again? What is it ...What's the sayin? doing the same old thing and expecting different results is the exact definition of insanity!
Just figure out do you really want that relationship? There is a reason you did it and you need to be truthful about why you did it.
Either way you need to find a relationship that is fulfilling enough to not lead you to cheat in the first place — you need to be with someone you respect enough to communicate your unhappiness to before you go and sleep with someone else. It's really about being mature enough to have a relationship that you don't try to sabotage. We've all done it. It's a part of becoming an adult. The best thing you can do is take some time to be single and truly explore what you want out of life and out of a partner. Set realistic expectations. Don't enter into a relationship until you're ready to commit and stick to your word.
So many types of cheating
People mistake the act of sex only as cheating. Actually it is not. Breaking the trust of your partner in ways you know they won't like is cheating!
Simple things like demanding you need your privacy on your cell phone when you are in a long term committed relationship - is that because you really want privacy to prove a point that you won't let go of being a bachelor because it is your right to act like one still or is it because you have bad intent? I mean let's get real here! Genuine couple really don't need to hide anything so grow up. If you start your relationship in an antagonistic way then maybe you are just not ready for a relationship. If you start that crap half way through your relationship then don't be surprised when it causes your partner insecurities - that is on you for creating that behavior with your childish games. If you say you are committed then be honest, open and committed - don't play games!
Let's face it there are so many ways in the digital age where infidelity opportunities arise with hidden chats, and social media platforms with suggestive almost naked pics flying around can you really handle all the temptations?
Emotional cheating for most is as bad as having real sex. Those little flirty messages then telling your partner "oh it was only a naked pic I sent get over it its not real sex" - ugh that only provokes someone to want to throat punch you! It is offensive, sending your private bits to someone is as intimate as the sex itself because again its about breaking that trust bond. Where your partner thought they turned you on they then realize than any one can get the same desired effect then what do you really have as a couple?
Drinks with a coworker may seem innocent enough, or bringing the hot chick at work a Starbucks every day might be brushed off by yourself as you being kind, but to get to the bottom of whether or not on what you are actually doing constitutes emotional unfaithfulness if you can really be honest about it. Take a look at the context of the things you're sharing. Are you finding yourself confiding more and more in your coworker, to the point that you're not sharing as much with your partner or spouse? Are you opting for multiple nights out per week at happy hour over spending time at home with the person you're in a relationship in? If those lines start to blur, then really ask yourself why am I stepping over this line and how far do I want it to really go?
That is when you should be talking to your partner about your concerns things are not working rather than just following your sex drive knowing you are being deceitful deep down. The more you justify it when you know deep down you are being shady the more of a crappy person you are. Don't blame the other partner for the things you are doing - they are your choices! And often your continued choices - Yes they might not pay you the attention you need or wear the sexy lingerie you used to love or change the oil in the car like they used to impress you back in the day with on your manly honey-doo lists! If you are not getting what you want from your partner don't take the easy way and cheat, talk to them, communicate!
The One Night Stand - are these one nighters any more forgivable than an affair? For most the answer is yes because they see it as some quick mistake (often people won't think about the things that led up to that) but usually they are an isolated incident and most will assume or accept their is no emotional connection so therefore can be more forgivable.
Then there is the long term affairs, cheating on the same person for a long term period can be so much harder to forgive because it was not one night of infidelity its been months or years of sneaking around, lying, maybe gifts or money spent continuously on them that you feel could have been spent on you or your kids. These are harder for anyone to move beyond because of the constant choice being made to do it time and time again. It becomes such a disrespect to the partner it's hard for them to move past it.
Then we have chronic infidelities. Those people who seriously just keep doing it and not caring. Their need for sex is just way more important than any relationship. These are just not bothering with, if their ego is this high and narcassistic they will always make you unhappy in every way they can. DUMP EM, move on there are millions more people in the world.
The end story (or question) is this .. do you really want the relationship you are in, is it time to open it up or move on to the next. It is doubtful any monogamous situation will work after cheating so consider all your options.
Let us know your experiences, comments or thoughts